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Festivity In Motion

Samba is considered the dance of celebration and joy. Lively and rhythmical, there are many types of Samba dances, just like there are many types of Samba music. Ballroom Samba, is one of the popular Latin dances in ballroom competitions, it is made up of many different South American dances mixed into one. In Brazil, a Samba dancer is known as a Sambista.

The major action of Samba, the "Samba Bounce Action," gives the dance its unique look and feel. The Samba Bounce Action is a gentle, rhythmic action felt through the knees and ankles. Samba dancers must strive to make this action appear effortless and carefree...it should never be exaggerated. This bounce action is quite difficult to master, but really adds to the overall character of the Samba.

Samba Characteristcs

The basic footwork of the Samba includes fast, three-step weight changes with a slight knee lift, led with alternating feet.

The major characteristic of the Samba is the vertical bounce action. Steps are taken using the ball of the foot. Knee action along with body sway and "pendulum motion", in the accomplished dancer, is made to look effortless and carefree.

Samba music is influenced by Jazz and Latin rhythms. It is written in 2/4 or 4/4 time. The music is festive and fast paced. The basic count is "Slow a Slow" or "1 a 2".

Principal characteristics of the Samba are the rapid steps taken on a quarter of a beat and the pronounced rocking motion and sway of the dancing couple.

Samba, is an old Brazilian style of dance with many variations, is African in origin. It has been performed as a street dance at carnival, the pre-Lenten celebration, for almost 100 years. Many versions of the Samba are danced at the local carnival in Rio. The ballroom Samba or Carioca Samba is derived from the rural "Rocking Samba" and has been known for many years. During carnival time there are "schools of Samba" involving thousands of elaborately-costumed dancers presenting a national theme based on music typical of Brazil and Rio in particular.

Before 1914 it was known under a Brazilian name "Maxixe". As early as 1923 an international meeting of professors of dancing took note of the rise of the Samba's popularity, particularly in France. A French dance book published by Paul Boucher in 1928 included Samba instructions. The dance was introduced to United States movie audiences in 1933 when Fred Astaire and Dolores Del Rio danced the Carioca in Flying Down to Rio and several years later, Carmen Miranda danced the Samba in That Night in Rio. A Samba exhibition was given at the November 1938 meeting of the New York Society of Teachers of Dancing. General interest in the Samba was stimulated at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, where Samba music was played at the Brazilian Pavilion. A few years later the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso wrote the classic Samba, "Brasil," which quickly became a hit, and in 1944 he went to Hollywood to write the score for the musical Brazil.

Samba has a very specific rhythm, highlighted to its best by characteristic Brazilian musical instruments: originally called tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca. Much of Samba music came from daily life in Rio, the first famous example being "Pelo Telefone" composed by Donga. To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures, used in the Samba today, require a pelvic tilt (Samba tic) action. This action is difficult to accomplish, but without it the dance loses much of its effect. Principal characteristics of the Samba are the rapid steps taken on a quarter of a beat and the pronounced rocking motion and sway of the dancing couple. The Samba (also known as the Brazilian Waltz) is now a moderately popular ballroom dance, limited pretty much to experienced ballroom dancers because of its speed.

  • Timing: 2/4
  • Tempo: 100 beats per minute
  • Accent: On the 2nd beat of each bar
  • Competition: 1,5 - 2 minutes
  • Rise and Fall: Nil
  • Basic Rhythm: 1a2* (also, 1a2a3a4 and SQQ)
  • Counting in Beats and Bars: 12, 22, 32, 42, etc.

Footwork: Ball Fall, Ball, Ball Flat primarily. Toes should be slightly turned out. Feet should be kept in contact with the floor using slight pressure.

General Technical Tips: Stand with a forward poise to create connection. Lead and follow from the center of the body, use compression and tension, and complement the music with the free arm

1 Samba Basics Kick
2 Whisks Twinkles to PP & CPP
3 Samba Walks Back Samba Walks
4 Simple Twinkle Solo Turns
5 Samba Box Step Syncopated Twinkle
6 Chasses Right & Left Criss Cross
7 Open Break & Underarm Turn Shadow Twinkles
8 Back Spot Turn Rolling of the Arm
9 Progresive Twinkle Maypole Left & Right
10 Opening Out Closed Swievels
1 Basic Closed Rocks Stationary Samba Walks
2 Alternative Basic Side Samba Walk Open Rocks
3 Progressive Basic Volta Movements Back Rocks
4 Whisks Shadow Botafogos Plait
5 Samba Walks in PP Argentine Crossess Foot Changes
6 Travelling Botafogos Contra Botafogos
7 Botafogos PP & CPP Rolling Off the Arm
8 Reverse Turn Natural Roll
9 Corta Jaca Volta Movements
10 Side Basic PP & CP Runs
11 Rhythm Bounce Cruzado Locks in Shadow Position
12 Voltas Right & Left Travelling Locks in Open CPP
13 Lady Spot Volta
14 Outside Basic